How your university affects your salary in banking and finance

Cambridge University
By Isabelle Bell, CA Today

24 November 2015

If you work in banking and finance and you studied at Cambridge, Oxford or Edinburgh University, you are more likely to have a higher salary, according to new research.

Salary benchmarking site Emoulment analysed the salaries and academic institutions of finance professionals to determine the best universities for banking careers in the UK and Ireland, and North America.

The study found that a finance associate/analyst who graduated from Cambridge University can expect to earn around £20,000 more than someone who studied at Trinity College or University College London.

In North America, Yale, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania are the top three universities for banking careers, with average salaries up to 40% higher than the top UK universities.

A Yale-educated finance analyst/associate can expect to earn around $194,000 (£128,000), while Harvard is second at $190,000 (£125,000).

Top 10 UK and Ireland universities for banking and finance careers

UniversityAverage salary
1. Cambridge University£91,000
2. Oxford University£85,000
3. Edinburgh University£84,000
4. Imperial College London£80,000
5. London School of Economics£79,000
6. Bristol University£74,000
7. Warwick University£73,000
8. Bath University£72,000
9. University College London£72,000
10. Trinity College£70,000

The study also revealed the universities with the lowest gender pay gaps for finance professionals.

Kingston University (3%), Manchester University (5%) and Liverpool University (6%) have the lowest pay gaps in the UK and Ireland, while Columbia, John Hopkins and Miami University in the US all have no pay gap.

Emoulment said that the average gender pay gap for finance professionals with less than five years’ experience is 27% in the UK.

Top 10 US and Canada universities for banking and finance careers

UniversityAverage salary
1. Yale University$194,000
2. Harvard University$190,000
3. University of Pennsylvania$187,000
4. Stanford University$185,000
5. University of Chicago$182,000
6. Boston College$176,000
7. Northeastern University$176,000
8. MIT$166,000
9. New York University$162,000
10. Georgetown University$161,000

Alice Leguay from Emoulment.com said: “The top universities for finance are not necessarily the ones with a reputation for being business-focussed, but historical red brick institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge. It seems UK recruiters are less concerned about vocational course content giving more weight to a university’s reputation and prestige.

“Over the years, though, as finance has become more complex and required a higher proportion of employees to be versed in IT, financial engineering and economics, vocational technical and scientific degrees have climbed up in the return on investment charts.”

Emoulment studied data from 11,000 graduates from the UK and Ireland and 2,700 from the US and Canada.

Source: Emoulment

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